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Jakarta Inside a Helmet


"Before you try making rules about the driver's income, try to understand what it feels like to be a driver. At least once a week, try actually using the app, so you know how it works and what should be done." This firm sentence was uttered by several online motorcycle taxi drivers we interviewed on the sidelines during their break. Despite the controversy regarding the regulation that has been applied by the government to online transportation companies, as well as regulations made by the company against thousands of "partners", drivers and consumers, the interview above summarizes a fundamental problem in the policy-making process in Jakarta, or Indonesia today; rule maker and recipient of the rules of life are in different worlds. A simple example, doesn't the minister dealing with public transportation problems use an official car with a special number plate and an escort? Doesn't that make him immune from his own policies on transportation?

Does an online transportation company CEO also live his daily life as a motorcycle taxi driver in the company they manage? Do property developers actually move in to the residences they create? Why is there such a great distance between makers of policies and those affected them? Could it be that motorcycle taxi drivers have an opportunity to formulate policies related to their own livelihoods? By self-help, independence and self-sufficiency? At least, in a social space in the form of coffee shop, a few tens of meters from the entrance to Manggarai station, around a small table which is equipped with several electrical outlets, dozens of online motorcycle taxi drivers form a community called "basecamp" which provides practical solutions for the problems they face: the waiting room is shady and comfortable when you have to wait for prospective passengers, food and beverage supplies to prevent hunger, electricity to recharge device batteries at affordable prices, as well as the presence of friends. A real space, but not accommodated in any kind of station area design and layout planning, like the one rigidly displayed in a corner of the bustling Manggarai station, not far away. Interview resource: one of the motorcycle taxi communities online at the Manggarai station page, including is Mr. Zaini (profile photo).

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